City council has approved an incentive grant of up to $1.1 million for a company that plans to develop a four-building retail and office development on a vacant former industrial site next to Royal City Park.
The “major downtown activation grant,” which will be paid out over 10 years after the development is built, is part of a five-year, $12.4-million incentive program for downtown development approved by council in April.
The development is expected to increase property taxes on the site sevenfold, Coun. June Hofland told council’s Dec. 17 meeting. The grant was approved without debate.
A numbered company, 2065404 Ontario Inc., applied for the grant to help develop the site at 40 Wellington St. W., near the southwest corner of Wellington and Gordon streets.
The vacant property was used in the past to manufacture radio electronic and power tools, most recently by Rockwell International.
The numbered company had previously received a grant under the city’s brownfield redevelopment program to help with the cost of cleaning up the contaminated site.
The development is now in the final stages of the site plan approval process at city hall, says a city staff report.
Most of the $1.1-million grant will go towards helping to pay off-site infrastructure upgrades, the report says.
These include right-of-way improvements on Gordon and Wellington streets, as well as upgrades to Royal City Park and a city-owned section of Dublin Street South, which is becoming additional park parking.
The 35,000 square feet of new commercial space in the development is expected to create 50 jobs, the report says.
Major downtown activation grants are based on the difference between property taxes collected on a property before development and the estimated taxes that will be collected for 10 years after development.
No money is paid out until the development is completed and has been assessed to determine actual property tax levels.
These incentive grants are related to a downtown community improvement plan approved by council, which aims to spur private investment in the city’s core, drawing new residents to the core and creating more jobs there, the report says.
“Based on these plans and tools, 2012 has seen real momentum develop in downtown in both residential and commercial development,” it says.
“Over 200 new housing units and over 70,000 square feet of commercial/office space (including this application) are in stream.”